Adventure, homeschooling, Review

Keep Calm and Read On!

Keep Calm & Read On, 20% off

Now seems like a great day to start a new adventure. In our house we tend to have a lot of different adventures that kind of just happen all around us. My boys are always full of energy and looking for some kind of adventure to go on or get into. We have been home for almost half a year now not going anywhere except to those occasional doctors appointments or if mom/dad need to run to the store. After a while being home all of the time starts to wear on you emotionally and physically. You get interactions through the computer or TV for the outside world but not like it was. My kids need to have things switched up to make things feel like they aren’t always the same because that is…. So boring! (as my 4 year old would say) He’s right it get’s boring after you do the same things over and over. To combat this we have started to change out toys switching between different sets and of course reading more books. Especially since school just started back for us just a couple of weeks ago. Reading has become something we do a lot of everyday. I read to my boys during their homeschooling as well as afterwards, if they are not tired of hearing my voice that is! My 6 year old is just now starting to read and is getting pretty great at it too. Just today he read through an entire book by himself with very minimal help.
I would say that reading has become a staple for fun in our household and that may be a weird thing to say for most people who might have already had a reading time implemented in their households. For our family books were a once in while thing like a super special time that we tried to do and that was if no one ripped, ate, or threw a book that day. My boys went through various stages of each of those…I as their mom was kind of in shock and wondered why they did those things. In my mind maybe they just weren’t ready for books. That might have been true then but today they are totally different for the most part about books. They have become more excited about them and believe me that didn’t just happen. I had to start over and over with book for my kids until I came up with a solution. We would create a library of sorts. If you wanted a book you would have to check it out and then return it if you wanted another or just a plain old toy. It seems to be working as its so far so good.
With that they have learned to take care of their books more during school and when school is over with. I also have started to feel more connected with them through books and learning. Every time I open a book they get so excited and we enjoy that time together.
According to The American Academy of Pediatricians “Shared reading promotes children’s language development, literacy and bonding with parents,” lead author Tiffany Munzer, M.D., said in a news release. “… We found that when parents and children read print books, they talked more frequently and the quality of their interactions were better.” I would definitely agree with that statement as I already mentioned earlier I feel closer to my kids being able to read books together. And I am loving the adventures and new memories we create together.
With schools starting back now during all the chaos whether you are homeschooling like my family or sending your kids back to physical school buildings I encourage you to make time for reading. Go on your own adventures to keep your minds busy and focused on fun things. Just remember to Keep Calm and Read On!

Keep Calm & Read On, 20% off

Recently I wrote a review for Bookroo HERE; check that post out to learn more in detail about Bookroo and their company. When I first learned about their awesome company I knew I wanted to be able to share them with you! Bookroo is a monthly box subscription service that sends books for children neatly wrapped up like presents in the mail every month. You have a few choices between types of boxes offered; there are three to choose from: The Board Book, The Picture Book, & The Chapter Book Box. Each for a specific age group (0-10 yrs). Each book sent out is individually wrapped in wrapping paper like little gifts I know that my kids were so excited to open the previous box they felt special when they got to unwrap their book. I think that wrapping them up give it a unique personal touch to this monthly box. It helps them stand out from the crowd! For the entire month of September Bookroo is offering a special promotion check it out below and follow the links provided to get the deal! Don’t forget to use the special code at checkout.

Bookroo has a very special promotion going on through the entire month of September 2020. Get 20% off any 3 month subscription with code KEEPCALM! Monthly or Gift included. (Code cannot be combined with any other offers or used more than once per household. Valid Sept. 1, (12:01 am ET) – Sept. 30 (11:59 pm PT).)

This month we were very fortunate to receive a second box from Bookroo to unbox for you! I am happy that I get to share this one with you as well. Bookroo offers three different types of boxes this one is the chapter book box. If you are more interested in seeing what the picture book box is like click HERE for my previous review/post.
Everyday for our homeschooling we have read aloud times where I grab a book usually a chapter book as they tend to last longer than a single day read and I read a chapter or two to both of my older boys. While they listen they usually have something to keep their little hands busy such as play dough or drawing in their reading journals over what I am reading about currently. I love being able to read to them and just share all sorts of adventures with them in every book that we read!
The chapter books came very nicely packaged just like the picture books came! Both were wrapped in different wrapping paper and I love that they are always wrapped in different kinds/designs of wrapping paper instead of it just being plain. My middle son helped with this unboxing he loved opening up “his presents”… I believe today was also his birthday party as he always says! He tends to have a birthday party every day. This made his day for sure.
Our first book is by Cornelia Funke; Lilly and Fin: A Mermaid Tale. This book looks like a great read for our home school read aloud’s. We are looking forward to going on another adventure, this one looks like it will take us “Under the Sea”. After we venture down to the deepest depths of the sea we will journey back to the surface for our next adventure!
For our last book it looks like we will set out for an adventure in the stars on a magical journey with The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker. This one looks like it is going to be a fun magical adventure for our school year. It is a bit on the thicker side so it will definitely last us a great while longer for our read aloud’s. Longer books also mean bigger adventures for our minds to escape into!
Again I encourage you to check out Bookroo so you can go out on your own adventures too! Grab a book and escape from today’s reality, set your mind on something great! Remember to Keep Calm & Read On!

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Keep Calm & Read On, 20% off


Our First Week Homeschooling Update

We survived! Our first week as home schooler’s went just as planned, great! I was a bit nervous to begin with but I found that I actually enjoy this versus sending them to a traditional school. We get all of our work done with in 3 hours which leaves time for playing outside and other fun projects. We ended up only having to do a couple of subject books for a couple days during this week and probably every week as we flew through the lessons quicker than anticipated. For our schooling we need to do 2 lessons per week for each subject to stay at a even pace. I thought that it might be too much but not at all the case.
As a mom I found that I am enjoying teaching my kids school work even more than I thought I would. At home there are no boundaries for all of the ways you can teach no regulations on when you have to do schooling its very flexible. We are able to do double work leaving us ahead of schedule and more time for other electives like Art or even to practice more of other subjects.
We don’t do a set schedule, instead school is after breakfast so when everyone wakes up we get into gear and get school work done! Having always sent my kids to a traditional school in the past I always hated getting up at the break of dawn and having to rush around getting everyone ready & out the door by a certain time. We always ended up cutting it real close with the schools tardy policy which where we live results in a court date that may lead to a variety of punishments. I think its absurd because not everyone is perfect to fit in that mold. Some of us are naturally all over the place and so are our kids! I feel a relief to not feel that threat of getting fined money because our kids were late to school one too many times. As I think about it more I have come to the conclusion that kids need to have more sleep than they are allowed to get by schools starting so early in the mornings not knowing if that kid is sleeping through the night or if they are having trouble falling asleep; so my point is that my kids can sleep in and rest for the day ahead of them. There is no stressful rushing around in the morning, no arguing with them to get dressed and stay that way. Most of the time my kids would have eaten at school unless they were late then they had to rush and eat at home. Something quick at that. Now they get that balance meal no worry about filling a time slot for school.
Before school started I asked both of my boys if there was anything that they would want to learn about besides what I would be teaching them. They told me they wanted to: learn to cook, learn to do art, learn about animals, & learn about bugs. Since we are learning at home and since we also have more of a flexibility when it comes to learning maybe they should learn about things that interest them also. In school it is a set curriculum plan that isn’t individualize per student instead it is for the whole class where everyone learns the same thing. I think that this approach will be better for them in the long haul. They are getting the main curriculum and something they can be excited about just for them.
Our first week has been great and enjoyable as I predict we will have many more great weeks to come. I know they won’t all be perfect some weeks I will think about pulling my hair out or I may scream into a pillow; but I think that it will continue to be less stressful than that stressful morning rush for traditional school and less stressful than dealing with all the things that come with sending kids to traditional schools. We are going to have fun the best that we can and just do homeschooling the way that works for us!

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Questions for you: Is anyone else doing home schooling for the first time? Were any of you homeschooling already? How have you liked it? What differences do you like doing school at home versus in a traditional school building? Feel free to comment below.


Suddenly Homeschooling

And just like that overnight I became a teacher on top of my other motherly talents. Like most of the suddenly homeschooling parents out there I am kind of nervous on how this year is going to go but also excited. I am eager to set up our new little classroom and eager for our new curriculum to arrive in the mail. It will definitely be an adjustment for everyone but I am not worried. I gave birth to them after all and being a teacher is basically what I have done all of their lives and continue to do everyday. I just hope that I can make it as much fun as possible.
I have a mental checklist that I am running through I feel like most days I seem to forget something but I am working diligently to get it all together on top of everything else I do daily. We fortunately already have a area that will be our learning room it is normally a play room but it will work perfectly for a learning space in the mornings or whenever the learning takes place. We originally ordered our school supplies through the school my kids would have attended if it weren’t for COVID so just gotta get them when they arrive. I ordered some nifty containers from Lakeshore Learning for holding their books and they will work great for storing them out of the way after school has ended each day. It is just a special space that is unique for each boy in a color that is his own. I want to make things fun and make it unique for each of them. We opted out of backpack’s this year because we aren’t going anywhere so other options for that seemed like the way to go!

Our set up so far is a long white folding table set up in the corner of our play/learning room with some folding chairs that can be tucked away when we are not using them. The room has a closet that will double as a pantry/school supply room as well. This will keep little people out of important things. We are currently trying to accomplish a whole bunch of tasks in our house and homeschooling just happens to be one of the many. We are expanding our pantry area from the kitchen to the closet I mentioned a minute ago and the basement for longer term food storage. There are quite a few things happening in our household at the moment and at times it just seems impossible to accomplish but we are doing our best. If I had any advice for other people in the same situation as myself I would say that you just need to do what is best for you and your family. The opinions of everyone else can easily cloud your judgement but in the end you need to do you! Don’t worry about having the perfect set up for a homeschooling environment if this is what you want to do just do it. Simply sitting at the kitchen table will do just fine. Our learning area is far from perfect, it is just me doing what works for our family.

Today I was asked why we chose to go the home school route and just completely take our kids out of school instead of opting for the remote learning through our local school. My answer is complicated because our decision wasn’t just made up over one simple thing. Instead there were quite a lot of factors. 1.) Remote learning for our school was something you could apply for but it was not guaranteed for your family to get it. 2.) If we were to get chosen I would wonder who did not get chosen because we did and those people may not even have the option to do full on homeschooling as a back up. 3.) If we weren’t chosen then it might be too far into the school thing to back out and just do homeschooling because in our state there are cut off dates for certain learning options. 4.) If we were chosen for remote learning we would also be at the mercy of the school in the fact that what if they decided to cancel remote learning because it wasn’t working for them; therefore we would have to attend in person school in the end. 5.) At the tail end of last school year when schools closed down due to the beginning of COVID-19 both my husband & I felt that the system in play for sending work home was super unorganized; so I question how organized would it be this year only a few months later. 6.) Would the curriculum be at your pace or would my 1st grader fall behind if we weren’t quite ready to go to the next assignment. 7.) They only offered remote learning for Kindergarten and upwards so my preschooler would not be apart of the school year and we would still have to find something for him to do through the year.
For all of these various reasons we decided that the remote learning option at our local school wasn’t going to work for us. We will miss our school but I know it is for the best; I also have a feeling that this is only the beginning for us and that just maybe we will not be returning back to an actual school anytime soon! If you too are having mixed feelings about taking that plunge just know that in the end you need to do what is best for your family. Weigh out the pros and cons if you really don’t know the right path to take. We are lucky enough to be able to do this but we sort of felt like we didn’t really have a choice and it really was a no brainer. We didn’t like the feeling of playing with our kids lives taking this big chance. With cases going up dramatically in our area and school hasn’t been in session for months now, nobody knows what is going to happen when school starts on August 26th 2020. I feel like it is not going to work for a lot of schools I think that it is a big mistake to start school this Fall and that this needs to be planned out further than just a few months; when the schools close as I do believe that they will close I don’t want out family to get caught up in the whirlwind of chaos that will come along with it.

I have done some research recently just to see what other schools in the US are doing as far as COVID-19 procedures and day to day procedures. I also have looked into what other schools in other countries have done. To me it really looks more like an institutionalized prison really rather than a traditional school. School is supposed to have a fun feel to them where kids are free to be kids for the most part, but most of the classroom & school set ups on YouTube and the articles that I have read online just seem troubling to me and sort of impossible. As a mom I cannot see kids especially little kids having to wear masks and face shields all day long five days a week. It just doesn’t seem realistic. Then you add in the social distancing they are setting as basic rules for little kids to not do what little kids do just seems like a fantasy. It will not go the way they anticipate it to go is what I think will happen. I am glad we chose not to go that route. Things are already terrifying enough without that added unknown of what our kids would be exposed to on a daily basis. We have made our decision, the one that is best for us. I encourage anyone else to make the best decision for their family no matter what it is!

Thanks for reading this post! Drop a like below and follow this blog. Follow me on my social media & stay tuned in for more posts coming soon, they are not quite everyday but they are coming as I find the time for writing with everything else going on! I have some new DIY craft posts coming out soon as some of our homeschooling tools need to be made instead of bought so trying to make that as fun as possible!


Life Update: Homeschooling

Very busy week for our family so I had to put a hold on fun crafts for a bit. There have been quite a lot of cases of COVID accumulating in our area some hitting too close for comfort. My husband and I sat down and had a very long talk and after much discussion we decided that we felt like we were being put between a rock and a hard place to send our kids back to school. We have a new baby who has just turned 5 months old; he stayed in the NICU for a month of his life and was born early on top of everything else. Then we have two other boys one of which has asthma that tends to get worse when he gets sickness especially coughs. We feel like taking that kind of gamble by sending the older ones back to school and I back to the school for work that we were gambling with their little lives. That isn’t fair of us to do. Call us crazy but we are just not willing to take that chance so we will be pulling our kids out of public schooling and start homeschooling for the year fairly soon.
I have been working all week to figure out how to do get started on this new journey of ours; figuring out what I have to do to get us going. Every state has their own set of rules/laws for homeschooling, we live in Iowa. I do believe I have gotten everything ready just to get the forms filled out and turned in with everything needed and then gotta order our curriculum for the year. My two older boys will be doing school curriculum through Master Books faith based education. The oldest is going into 1st grade and his brother is on his second year of preschool; in Iowa preschool isn’t necessarily a grade but he will still need to be ready for Kindergarten next year so we are doing preschool anyways as he just did 3 year old preschool this past year. After doing a fair amount of research on a faith based curriculum I landed on Master Books; I may add things to it during the year for that extra amount of learning depends on how things are going.
Today some thoughts passed through my head as today was the opening day for our schools registration online; I thought long and hard and wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing by pulling them out completely as our school is offering a remote learning program for some of the families in the school if they see it is necessary. The real disappointing part of this was learning that it will not be offered to everyone just some. That was part of our decision against staying in the school as hey if we were one of the chosen families we would be able to stay at the school. Except they only offered it for our 1st grader so that meant that our preschooler wouldn’t be able to do that. And then some other worries crossed my mind; we would be taking up a place for some other family that may not even have the ability to home school outside of this current school due to whatever reason, the fact that it wasn’t guaranteed for all families who applied, we would not be able to move at our own pace (I was thinking well what if we get behind would we have to go to the school to catch up, defeating the purpose), & then finally what happens if the school decides to cancel that program or something similar that requires us to come in to the school anyways also defeating the purpose of the staying at home option. Our family like so many other cannot afford to gamble with our children’s lives they are too precious to take those possible life & death chances.
This wasn’t a decision we took lightly when deciding this new homeschooling adventure means we lose my income at the school and probably means my husband will have to work more. We weren’t super concerned with our jobs being the problem with all that’s going on either it was more, kids are not going to keep their masks on at school and for everyone in our family especially the safety of our immune compromised kids (new baby/asthma) it wasn’t worth it. My husband would be the only one going out unless we all had doctors appointments or to the store where only one of us goes and we sanitize and mask up always! When he’s at work he wears gloves and a mask all day long and we felt that was something we could live with in me not having a job as we have to have some income. It is not our hope to have to struggle to pay bills for the rest of our lives but I would rather have a struggle with money than to watch my kids go through this awful virus and it affecting them the rest of their lives if they survive it. That’s not easy to think about and I felt so weird typing it just now… but it’s true. Money is necessary but it is not more important than my children’s lives; you can always make more money but there is only one of each of my kids ever! I would rather keep my kids as healthy as possible even if I have to forfeit the best job I have ever had in my life. I love it but I LOVE my kids more!
If there is anyone else kind of going through the same things know that you are not alone. I am having a hard time with my decision in the sense that this is NOT a easy decision. Hopefully we can return back to school next year that is if everyone wants to go back because I may just rock at this home school thing. Let’s hope that is the case. I could see it as a permanent thing, maybe! Feel free to comment below if anyone has any tips for homeschooling or maybe you have a question for me. As always thanks for reading. Drop a like below and follow this blog. Also follow me on social media and check out some of my other posts if you enjoyed reading this one!